1. I am an avid fan/follower of Stocktwits. It's a demonically clever service built on top of the Twitter platform. I get incredible insight and information on markets, economics and politics every day there.
A favorite topic not too long ago in that community was real estate...the housing market has collapsed, what was next. Commercial real estate of course. Malls all over are emptying out (customers and tenants), as the economic contraction takes its toll on spending/consumption/jobs.
What are the malls doing to help themselves?
2. There has been a lot of blogging/twittering etc., lately, about how Small Business can use social media to help with their marketing and their bottom line. Well, what about the businesses that rely on small business as their customers?
The above two points make me wonder what use are marketing directors at malls making of social media. Does your local mall have a social Media strategy? Maybe they do...I am just unable to find evidence of it where I am.
At a minimum...when I walk in the mall, and there is a HUGE sign that say something like "Welcome to this Mall, where it's super fun, etc!" maybe that giant sign should have big black letters against a white background that says "twitter.com/thisMall". Right now, that sign is just wasted space.
And sales info could go out once a day to their twitter followers...maybe they pick one store a day to have a loss-leader type sale.
And furthermore...maybe the Mall ought to be providing seminars for their tenants....the "rising tide lifts all boats" approach....though I see that some tenants in the malls are using facebook, etc....surely there is more they could do, and for many shop owners this would all be brand new and useful information.
And. What other businesses rely on small businesses (in aggregate) for their business? Banks, credit unions, etc.?
Well...what is your local Community Credit Union's social media strategy? (Again, maybe they have a comprehensive one...I can't tell.)
Could they provide information (or a quick seminar) about some tools and strategies to their small business accounts? If nothing else, it would show that they are thinking hard about how to help their accounts with added value and attention.
Umpqua Bank is famous locally for their innovations in retail banking. They even have their own (I think) social network called Local Spaces. But...I believe that it's proprietary and closed? (see their response in the comments below).
And. What other institutions/organizations have small biz in the aggregate that they rely on?
Churches? Business and trade associations? (i do note lots of how-to workshops in this sector) City governments?
At any rate...the churn in tenants in shopping malls here is obvious...it I were in charge of keeping those store fronts occupied, I wouldn't dismiss the low cost/potential high value of using social media to generate a little bit of community, foot traffic, interest and good will among tenants and....value added for would-be tenants.